All mothers are extraordinary…but these dogs and cats who accept babies from another species as their own are a unique kind of extraordinary. The Peaks Pet Nanny is wishing all of you moms and pet parents a happy Mother’s Day!
Recently while scrolling through Facebook I came upon a viral video: a woman was feeding formula to a kitten when a beagle approached to steal the kitten away from her to bring it back to her litter of puppies (and more kittens). The video was accompanied by the caption “I think I know how to raise my own puppies if you don’t mind, Becky.” My immediate reaction was “oh my God, this is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” My second thought was “Is it healthy for a kitten to feed on a lactating dog?”
According to Elle Di Jensen, “the vitamins and minerals that kittens and puppies require are very much the same, although kittens need more crude protein and less crude fat than puppies do. If it becomes necessary for a foster animal to come to the assistance of nursing kittens, a lactating dog can provide milk that will be similar enough in nutritional value to the milk that the kittens would get from their mother.” And vice-versa—puppies can feed on lactating cats. Though if you find yourself in a situation where kittens are feeding on a dog or puppies are feeding on a cat it would be advisable to do some bottle feeding in addition and to check in with a veterinarian to make sure they are getting exactly what they need. An additional benefit to this interspecies motherhood is the puppies/kittens will learn to get along with the other species which can only be helpful when trying to find them a forever home.
In short, this beagle mothering a kitten is one beautiful example of a natural maternal instinct. Take a deep dive on the web to find more stories, like this one from the Huffington Post: Memory, a 5-year-old Boston Terrier who used to be afraid of cats, accepted four orphan kittens as her own litter triggering a pseudopregnancy in her body which allowed her to lactate for them. Three of the four kittens were given away, but the owners kept one (his name is Luke) who Memory reportedly is still protective of as a mother. Or you can watch this emotional roller-coaster: Miss Kitty gave birth to a litter of kittens unbeknownst to her owners and they all sadly passed away. Meanwhile, the family dog, Smoochie, had just given birth to a litter of puppies but was a completely disinterested mother. The grieving Miss Kitty claimed the puppies as her own. When the owners tried to find orphaned kittens to give Miss Kitty babies of her own species, she accepted them but—to their surprise—would not give up the puppies.
By K. Kypers